Swimming in Trash

Swimming in Trash

Day 2 Trash Crew celebrates their effort

Crunch, crunch, crunch. I walked from the trails’ edge to the shoreline—about 10 feet. The crunching wasn’t leaves fallen from the trees, it was trash. Every step was the crunch of trash. Seven Oaks Trail was an incredible graveyard of trash.

On the edge of the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, we’ve been working to complete the Seven Oaks Trail, a 2.8 mile segment that is part of a 5 mile connector loop. This is a beautiful trail with a diversity of flora and fauna as well as extensive portions along the shore of Lake Wylie. However due to its location and the recent flooding this past summer, Seven Oaks has experienced an unfortunate problem. An incredible trash problem.

When there is massive flooding in a region, all of the trash is collected by the floodwater and sent into the creeks and streams due to insufficiencies in our storm water management systems. The trash makes its way into our lakes and rivers. Floodplain shorelines then quickly convert in trash depositories. When the waters finally go down, we can see the results along these shores and the result of our society’s waste production. Thousands and thousands of bottles; hundreds and hundreds of cans, balls, toys, shoes, tires, cigarettes, lighters, spray cans, treated wood, and Styrofoam. That’s what covered the shores of Seven Oaks Trail a few weeks ago.

Prior to our trash pickup, this property was annexed by the City of Belmont. I’d like to give a shout out to the City of Belmont because it is efforts like theirs that inspire our mission, build partnerships for better communities, and show the power of working together. Folks from the City of Belmont called us up to welcome the CTT to Belmont and informed us that they’d love to help. Belmont offered a huge dump truck and recycling services. Something we wouldn’t have been able to contract without them. Thanks to Belmont, we were able to coordinate a huge effort to collect trash and recycling on our new trail in time for the opening on December 6th.

The Carolina Thread Trail has a lot of work days with staff, volunteers, and corporate partners. A few weeks ago, the Carolina Thread Trail worked over two days with staff and volunteers to get this trail ready for use. In the freezing cold, dedicated volunteers came and help us pick up the gross, seemingly endless amount of trash along the shore. By the end, we had collected 136 bags of recycling, 62 bags of trash, 32 old tires, and 32 bags of pre-collected trash along the road by City of Belmont Public Works Crew. In total, the clean-up weighed in at 1,385 lbs. or approximately ¾ a ton of trash and debris.

What an impact.